Facebook is a website devoted to social networking. It currently has over 500 million daily users and 900 monthly users worldwide and it is the second most popular website only behind Google.

Origin

Facebook was established by Mark Zuckerberg in 2004 and gained popularity almost immediately. By the end of its first year it had over 64 million users.

Daily Life Usage

200 million people access Facebook via a mobile device each day

  • More than 30 billion pieces of content are shared each day
  • Users that access Facebook on mobile devices are twice as active on Facebook compared to non-mobile users
  • Facebook generates a staggering 770 billion page views per month
  • 200 million people access Facebook via a mobile device each day
  • Average user sends 8 friend requests per month

Facebook Stats

Facebook users log an average of 60 minutes per day

When you log on what is the first thing you see? The NEWSFEED!!

The Newsfeed is one of the most significant parts in Facebook. This is where you see your friend’s links to news, their check-ins to places and their likes (contents in general). The Newsfeed is the place where the conversations start rolling if the subject is of interest.
“A ‘performative’ virtual playground that drives the production of subjectivities on-line, while simultaneously acting as site of capture for the immaterial labour required for users to remain recognizable” (Cote & Pybus, 2011, p.6) .

Facebook practising a form of Biopower

Biopower “uses this population like a machine for production, for the production of wealth, goods and other individuals” (Foucault, cited in Cote & Pybus 2011, p. 10).

Facebook is not as private as you think. They are actually using your information to advertise contents according to your interests. Your likes and dislikes and personal information are essential as it allows Facebook to choose what you see (in terms of advertisements) selling products back to us.

 

Immaterial? Labour? Immaterial labour?

Social networking is all about connecting with friends and family and meeting new people, right?

Yes, that is gist of it. However, immaterial labour is the major player in social networks such as Facebook as companies are earning big bucks while users are providing free labour to promote products, places, fashion and news simply by sharing with friends. This will make other people on the network want the things you like and are able to find out more about the place/product then users will participate and feel involved and be a part of a community by keeping the social flow going. This gets users to be more productive which is shown by of all the things that get generated.

From the Audience Commodity to Immaterial Labour

Social Media has become central to the process of media. An example of this was back in 2004 when Richard Murdoch’s News Corp spent more than a half a million on MySpace. This turned out to be a horrible investment.This purchase showed the growing relationship between Audiences and Popular Culture and those social media platforms like MySpace and now Facebook are not just a form of communication but they are in fact an important part of the media in general. News, current events and people’s everyday lives are spread much quicker through social media.

Through time we as users have changed. We no longer gain all our knowledge and news from the television set, just listening to one side of the story, they story they want us to hear. We have now moved to on to dictate what the media tells us. As we join social media we become a central part of social networks. We update, we tweet, we check in. We share our own opinion and not the opinion of the news.

The Audience Commodity is focused on a response to correct the term of consumption. It is an update on previous theories of how audiences act. Immaterial labour is a new way to describe the ‘audience’. It better helps us understand the line between culture, subjectivity and capital. When dealing with a social network like Facebook, the word audience is irrelevant as there are so many different aspects to consider.

Convergence

Convergence is a major feature of social networking sites like Facebook. Convergence aids immaterial labour in that the user both produces and consumes the product, and this helps the creation of the cultural content of a community. Unlike past times, major media companies do not produce products for the public to consume, as can be seen in traditional TV production. With Facebook, the user both consumes the product and influences or even creates the product. The role of the user in this situation is important, because the user participates in the cultural content of the product. This is what connects convergence to immaterial labour.

The Digital Archive of the Self, of Feeling, and of Profit

In Facebook there are two parties, Facebook itself and its users. Facebook gains more power the more the users update. Its market value increases as users continually post, upload, share and update their immaterial and affective labour.

 

When Facebook’s timeline was introduced, it gave new meaning to this theory of ‘the digital archive of the self’. These digital archives are user-generated. We, as users, upload and update everything about our lives on our Facebook profiles. Through Timeline, we have an easily accessible digital archive of our online lives. Our digital archive is always being updated as we upload new information and new media. Our digital archive is always in a process. Even if we stop updating ourselves, on our friends may do it for us by tagging. It also remains a process by still being there and remaining as our online history.

Facebook Timeline

Are you FOR or AGAINST the Facebook Timeline? Why?

This “constant updating is a direct consequence of the new paradigm of permanent 25 transfer” and fits with how Foucault tried to characterize the evolution of the archive. That is, “not a monument for future memory but a document for possible use”.  (Cote & Pybus, 2011, p.25)

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